Lyle’s is part of a new movement of industrial, Michelin restaurants. Set-up in a former warehouse, its tables and waiting staff are simply dressed. In a similar style to Septime in Paris, these establishments focus their effort on serving dishes with carefully selected, high quality produce. Though while they have simplified the presentation elements of the Michelin experience, they remain deadly serious about the food they serve.
Intriguing amuses-bouche set the scene. A smoked sour cream is presented with shards of sprouting broccoli. This is followed by a nutty, aerated cream of cheese, with lightly blanched bitter chicory and radicchio leaves to dip into the moreish foam. Both plates are fresh and light, creating interest for what will follow.
Next up is a fantastic stock, which is laden with lightly poached petals of new onions. The sweet, tender onion contrasts nicely against the saltiness of the broth, with a soft poached egg adding some richness to the dish. A light, acidic, touch comes from ribbons of ramsen (garlic leaves). This is a thoughtful and tasty dish.
After a beautiful piece of monkfish (with its lightly fried liver), the main course is suckling kid. Slow-roasted, its deep flavoured meat is rich and moist. A nettle sauce, fortified with a stock give you something to coat your meat with. Fresh yoghurt creates an almost Greek feel to the dish, while bitter salad leaves give a bit of crunch. This plate may not be the most elegant, but it delivers because of the clever use of produce.
Though perhaps the best of all is the concord pear ice cream, which is swirled onto the plate (rather than a cone) to create a base for some beautiful toppings. The ice cream has a crispness from the pear, which gives you the sensation of it being halfway to a sorbet. Even better, the pear has been roasted, slightly burnt, to give it a great nutty flavour. On top are roasted oats and surprising shavings of Greenham goat’s cheese. Tangy, almost butter like in texture, its natural saltiness creates a surprising, inspired dessert.
Despite a hit-and-miss wine list, Lyle’s is an excellent example of British produce being showcased in a way that it deserves. Overall, it is definitely worth a visit and we look forward to trying another menu using ever-changing seasonal produce.